Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Willie Revillame, Lim Seng, the 2 OFWs in China and Thoughts of a Poor Pinoy

Dear Kuya Alex,

It was about noon when I heard about the execution of the three Filipinos in China. I cried. And the entire world fell silent. 

I was walking then when I saw several people watching the tele. Their gaunt faces betray the hurt and the sadness of seeing their fellow Filipinos, victims of a brutal and brutish system, getting this punishment. Then, I remember Lim Seng, the Chinese drug lord, falling after one of the bullets fired from the volley of shots of a firing squad of Filipino soldiers hit him in the body.

That scene happened in the seventies, when China was still economically backward and the Philippines in turmoil over what future holds for 30 million or so Filipinos. The Philippines was under Martial rule. The first casualty was Lim Seng. His execution was swift and lethal. That execution was shown over live television. After he fell, the entire country fell silent. My mother and grandmother said that drug pushers and drug syndicates were so afraid, drugs literally went invisible shortly after that live execution. 

I am not entirely sure if the Chinese people militated and prayed before Lim Seng was executed. I really don't remember what transpired shortly after the Philippine authorities wrapped the body of the criminal. And I was'nt able to read any news article that even intimated if Chinese officials went to Marcos and pleaded Lim Seng's case, or that the criminal's body was even transported back to China.

It was a long time ago, when the Pasig river was still clean and you can still swim at Manila bay. It was the time when the peso was still respected and you can even use those centavos.

Forty years past, and we see China become the third biggest economy in the world, while we sank to 126th. Forty years, and the drug problem in the Philippines has reached alarming proportions, with more than 7 million drug addicts and the number of drug syndicates rose from just two in the seventies to about 40 in the 21st century. 

Forty years, and we see China as a global player, while our country remains the sick man of Asia. Corrupt officials have spawn everywhere and even built their own clubs. Lawlessness became a fixture in Philippine society, with criminals and syndicates doing their thing here, even considered this country not just as a convenient transshipment point, but also as a rest and recreation center. 

Forty long years, and China recovered from a brutal civil war, while, the Philippines further slid down the prosperity avenue, not knowing what direction to take, clueless about the future, even more fearful of what that future meant or hold.

Forty years and we see Filipinos, all ten million of us, leaving our homes, looking for a better place to live and breed, like rats out of their holes. While most of China's sons and daughters who abandoned their country while in turmoil, are now back, ready to live in a more prosperous nation. 

China takes care of a billion people, while, us, the Philippines only has our ninety million. But things are getting worse, and people are clueless as to what the future holds, given the sorry state of our economy. Prices have gone up, while salaries remain as they are. More and more of us are being victimized by men exploiters of other men's miseries. Filipinos are looking outwardly, far as possible from here, unmindful of the risks, just to survive. 

Forty years ago, it was the Chinese man who did that. Now, the Chinese man stays contented in his house somewhere out there, while the Filipino scampers almost in all directions, trying desperately to escape the brutal and brutish system that not just enslaves people but alienates them.

Today, the execution of three innocent Filipinos remind us of reality, of the sorry state of our affairs. Had our leaders did their jobs right and prioritized country over self, this diaspora would not have happened. People like Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Credo and Batain would have stayed and lived on as responsible parents to their kids. 

Kuya, if you hear me, listen closely.

I know that one of the little things that we're supposed to do is tell foreigners how lucky we are to live in a beautiful country such as the Philippines.

I know that it is the responsibility of ordinary Filipinos to tell these foreigners how fortunate we are that God placed us in this land, of many splendours and of amazing wonders.

But, I cannot bear and fool myself any longer.

Kuya, those Filipinos who were executed today and those who still languish in hundreds of jails not just in China but in other countries as well, most of them are just victims. 

Yes, Kuya, they are victims of cruel circumstances. They wanted to fight the inhumanity here, but were'nt able to. This brutal and brutish system is so strong that no man is capable enough of defeating this implosion. 

Kuya, how can I say that we are lucky, when we have government officials, even the Highest of those officials, who tell us to accept the verdict calmly because their innocence or guilt depended on the laws of other countries.

Kuya, there were pieces of evidence which proved their innocence, but the Courts of China closed their ears and eyes and handed down the verdict of death. 

How would I tell these foreigners that it is fortunate to live here, when prices of commodities have gone up, and standards of living here have become a hellish nightmare?

How will I tell my kids that their futures are secure here, when there are more than 35 million families unable to eat thrice a day and about 11 million fathers and mothers without jobs?

How will I be able to tell my kid to respect the laws of this country when these laws enable people to steal billions of pesos worth of our monies kept in Bangko Sentral vaults?

How will I tell my kid to respect the laws when the very people who are expected to implement them are the very ones who violate these laws with impunity?

How will I even share my pride as a Filipino when we allow foreign drug lords to escape jail time and those innocents kept in filthy barbaric prisons?

And how will I ever be so faithful with this government and pay my taxes when I see the roads they built, pot-marked by craters and the bridges they built fall by the weight of just 2o tons?

We, who were born poor and defenseless, we suffer the brutality of the system which our leaders asked us to respect.

We, who were born proletariats, we suffer the cruelty and the barbarity of a system partial to those who have and inhumane to those without.

We, who were born poor, can only cry as Willie Revillame ask us to make a fool out of ourselves in exchange for a few thousands of pesos.

We, who were born poor, have been asked by this government to persevere, be patient, and promised that prices of commodities would soon go South, while we slowly await our deaths.

We, who were born poor, can only grit our teeth and clench our fists, as capitalists and traders exploit our weaknesses and our native intelligence by raising the prices of goods while this government tells us to just grin and bear it.

And, we, who were born poor, are being accused of rebellion and of other crimes when we shout out our souls, our frustrations, our opposition against alienation.

The deaths of Ordinario, Credo and Batain have opened our minds to the truth--the reality that we are being exploited, the Truth that we are being made slaves and the Truth that we are being made zombies, programmed to believe the empty promises of change by someone who does not know even where to go while driving his Porsche.

We cling to the hopes that that day will come, when millions of us, would just rise up and demand that our voices be heard, that these promises be fulfilled and these publicly announced dreams be realized.

When that day comes, those who oppress us, those who mock us, like Willie Revillame, those who make fun of our miseries just to sell their products, they will get the brunt of our anger. Our anger will rise unto the heavens, and God, in His bountil mercies, will send His angels to avenge us. God, we always believe, is a God of Justice. This inhumane system will be crushed. This system which bred corrupt men will be stumped to the ground. This system, which many have exploited and fed with lies, and with bovine wealth, will be split in the middle. True change will come, I believe it will, tomorrow.